This page describes relevant information about the code structure of JabRef precisely and succinctly. Closer-to-code documentation is available at Code HowTos.
We have been successfully transitioning from a spaghetti to a more structured architecture with the
model in the center, and the
logic as an intermediate layer towards the
gui which is the outer shell. There are additional utility packages for
preferences and the
cli. The dependencies are only directed towards the center. We have JUnit tests to detect violations of the most crucial dependencies (between
gui), and the build will fail automatically in these cases.
model represents the most important data structures (
Events, and related aspects) and has only a little bit of logic attached. The
logic is responsible for reading/writing/importing/exporting and manipulating the
model, and it is structured often as an API the
gui can call and use. Only the
gui knows the user and his preferences and can interact with him to help him solve tasks. For each layer, we form packages according to their responsibility, i.e., vertical structuring. The
model should have no dependencies to other classes of JabRef and the
logic should only depend on
model classes. The
cli package bundles classes that are responsible for JabRef's command line interface. The
preferences represents all information customizable by a user for her personal needs.
We use an event bus to publish events from the
model to the other layers. This allows us to keep the architecture but still react upon changes within the core in the outer layers.
You can view up-to-date diagrams for model, gui, and logic packages at sourcespy.
Permitted dependencies in our architecture are:
gui --> logic --> model gui ------------> model gui ------------> preferences gui ------------> cli gui ------------> global classes logic ------------> model global classes ------------> everywhere cli ------------> model cli ------------> logic cli ------------> global classes cli ------------> preferences
All packages and classes which are currently not part of these packages (we are still in the process of structuring) are considered as gui classes from a dependency stand of view.
Most Important Classes and their Relation
Both GUI and CLI are started via the
JabRefMain which will in turn call
JabRef which then decides whether the GUI (
JabRefFrame) or the CLI (
JabRefCLI and a lot of code in
JabRef) will be started. The
JabRefFrame represents the Window which contains a
SidePane on the left used for the fetchers/groups Each tab is a
BasePanel which has a
SearchBar at the top, a
MainTable at the center and a
PreviewPanel or an
EntryEditor at the bottom. Any right click on the
MainTable is handled by the
BasePanel holds a
BibDatabaseContext consisting of a
BibDatabase and the
MetaData, which are the only relevant data of the currently shown database. A
BibDatabase has a list of
BibEntry has an ID, a citation key and a key/value store for the fields with their values. Interpreted data (such as the type or the file field) is stored in the
TypedBibentry type. The user can change the
JabRefPreferences through the